Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Thomson, George (fl.1648-1679)

THOMSON, GEORGE (fl. 1648–1679), medical writer, born about 1620, served under Prince Maurice in the civil war. After the overthrow of the royalists he proceeded to Leyden University, where he graduated M.D. on 15 June 1648, submitting as his thesis ‘Disputatio de Apoplexia,’ Leyden, 1648 (Peacock, Index of English-speaking Students at Leyden University, s.v. ‘Tomsonus’). During the plague of 1665 he resided in London, and made an especial study of the symptoms. In 1665 he published ‘Loimologia: a Consolatory Advice, and some brief Observations concerning the present Pest,’ London, 4to, in which he reflected on the conduct of those members of the College of Physicians who left the city during the plague. This pamphlet drew a furious reply from John Heydon [q. v.], entitled ‘Psonthonphanchia, or a Quintuple Rosiecrucian Scourge for the due Correction of that Pseudo-chymist and Scurrilous Emperick, Geo. Thomson’ (London, 1665, 4to). In the same year Thomson also published a work of some ability, entitled ‘Galeno-pale, or a chymical Trial of the Galenists, that their Dross in Physick may be discovered’ (London, 1665, 8vo), in which he protested against the contempt of English practitioners for experience, and their implicit reliance on theory. He also argued with considerable force against the excessive bleeding and purging in vogue, and against the method of attempting to cure diseases by contraries. A reply by William Johnson, entitled ‘Aγυρτο-Mαστιξ,’ provoked ‘Πλανο-Πνιγμος, or a Gag for Johnson, that published Animadversions upon Galeno-pale, and a Scourge for that pitiful Fellow Mr. Galen, that dictated to him a Scurrilous Greek Title’ (London, 1665, 8vo), which was published, together with a eulogy of ‘Galeno-pale,’ by George Starkey [q. v.] In the following year Thomson pursued the subject in ‘Λοιτομία, or the Pest anatomised’ (London, 8vo), which was translated into Latin by his assistant, Richard Hope, in 1680 (London, 8vo), and into German by Joachim Biester (Hamburg, 1713, 4to).

In 1670 he published a treatise against blood-letting under the title of ‘Haimatiasis, or the true Way of preserving the Bloud’ (London, 8vo), which plunged him into a new controversy with Henry Stubbe (1631–1676) [q. v.], who replied in ‘The Lord Bacon's Relation of the Sweating-Sickness examined, in a Reply to George Thomson, Pretender to Physick and Chymistry, together with a Defence of Phlebotomy’ (London, 1671), 8vo. Thomson rejoined in ‘Mισοχυμίας Ἔλεγχος, or a check given to the insolent garrulity of H. Stubbe’ (London, 1671, 8vo). Letters were interchanged and published by Thomson in the following year (London, 4to). In 1673 he published ‘Epilogismi Chymici Observationes necnon Remedia Hermetica Longa in Arte Hiatrica exercitatione constabilita’ (London, 8vo), and in 1675 ‘Oρθο-μέθοδος ἰατρο-χυμική, or the direct Method of Curing Chymically’ (London, 8vo), which was translated into Latin by Gottfried Hennicken, and published at Frankfort-on-Maine in 1686 with a preface by Thomson dated 1684. If this date be correct, he was then living, though there are some grounds for believing that he died before 1680. His portrait, engraved from life in 1670 by William Sherwin, is prefixed to several of his works.

Thomson was twice married: first, on 2 Nov. 1667, to Abigail, daughter of Hugh Nettleshipp, salter, of Wandsworth, Surrey; and secondly, on 31 Oct. 1672, to Martha Bathurst of Battersea, Surrey.

[Thomson's Works; Granger's Biogr. History of England, iv. 21; Chester's London Marriage Licences, col. 1331.]

E. I. C.